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Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Summit physical and occupational director becomes sports certified specialist

Press release:

United Memorial’s Summit Physical and Occupational Therapy Center’s Jim Turcer, PT, SCS has obtained Board Certification as a Sports Certified Specialist (SCS). The certification program provides formal recognition for physical therapists with advanced clinical knowledge, skill and expertise in the areas of sports and athletics.

As of July 2013, the American Board of Physical Therapists Specialties (ABPTS) has certified only 1,266 Physical Therapists nationwide with the Sports Specialist Certification.

“Certified specialists have clearly demonstrated their commitment to service by the variety, depth, and consistency of their professional involvement. Their desire to attain formal recognition of their advanced clinical knowledge, competence, and skills reflects their devotion to their profession and their patients. In these times of dramatic health care reform, dedication to public service by providing high quality physical therapy services is paramount,” said Stephanie Yu, PT, MSPT, PCS, chair American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties.

Turcer began working within the community immediately after graduating from the State University of New York at Buffalo with a degree in Physical Therapy and recently celebrated his 27th anniversary with United Memorial Medical Center. Turcer furthered his education and training by becoming a certified Sportsmetrics trainer through the Cincinnati SportsMedicine Research and Education Foundation.

He is currently living in Alexander with his wife and three children, and is passionate about teaching high school female athletes’ injury prevention and jump training programs. Over the last 12 years he has been working with the Alexander High School’s women’s volleyball and basketball teams to successfully reduce the number of injuries to their athletes.

Summit Physical and Occupational Therapy has clinicians with the highest certifications and training with many years of experience. The professionals at Summit Physical and Occupational Therapy have consistently demonstrated their dedication for advanced techniques by furthering their skills and education. 

About the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties

The specialist certification program has been designed to identify and define physical therapy specialty areas and to formally recognize physical therapists who have attained advanced knowledge and skills in those areas. Certification also assists the public and health care community in identifying therapists with acknowledged expertise in a particular field of practice and demonstrates that physical therapists are devoted to addressing the unique needs of the people with whom we work. Certification is achieved through successful completion of a standardized online application and examination process. Coordination of this program is provided by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS), the governing body for approval of new specialty areas and certification of clinical specialists. Specialty councils representing the eight recognized specialty areas have been appointed to delineate and describe the advanced knowledge, skills, and abilities of clinical specialists; determine specific requirements for certification; and develop the certification examinations.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at 11:28 am

Gift from Liberty Pumps puts new technology in the hands of every Byron-Bergen student

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, business, byron, byron-bergen, liberty pumps

There's a selfish reason Charle Cook got behind the idea of his company donating money to help the Byron-Bergen School District buy 1,100 tablet computers for all of the district's children: He wants potential future employees to have the technical skills to work for the Liberty Pumps of tomorrow.

But the donation is also a good deed that will benefit his and his son's alma mater and perhaps encourage other rural companies to be as generous with their local school districts.

"We felt it's important as kids progress through school that they become knowledgable and comfortable with technology," said Charlie Cook, CEO of Liberty. "It's going to be part of their future employment. To have that as a kind of leg up to students who might not have access is an advantage.

"Somewhat from a selfish standpoint," he added, "we're going to need a certain segment of those graduates, and we're interested in keeping as many kids as we can in the community."

Superintendent Casey Kosiorek said the gift was timely. The district had recently cut a staff position from its library and New York's formula for aid to district continues to disportionately favor affluent suburban districts over rural districts.

"This allows us to do something that most of the school districts in the more affluent areas of the state are able to do," Kosiorek said. "We're very thankful for that."

That was part of what motivated Liberty to seek out a way to assist the district, said Jeff Cook, who initiated the talks with the district that led to the donation.

"The reason Liberty Pumps thought the Learn Pads were a good idea was that we hear a lot about how wealthier, suburban districts seem to have advantages over poorer, more rural districts in terms of course offerings and opportunities for their students," Jeff Cook said. "We were looking for a way to help give our students an edge while minimizing the overhead burden of the district and therefore the taxpayer."

Charlie Cook didn't want to reveal the total monetary amount of the donation, but it's roughly 30 percent of the cost of the 1,100 tablets, which cost a few hundred dollars each. That donation made Byron-Bergen eligible for a technology grant from the state education department that covered the remaining 70 percent of the cost.

There will be no new local spending as a result of the program.

The tablets are known as LearnPads. They are Droid-based tablets with modifications to suit the needs of an educational institution.  

First, there are limits on how students can use them. There's access to YouTube, for example, but they can only watch teacher-approved videos. They can only visit approved Web pages. They can only download and install teacher-approved apps.

Teachers control the entire LearnPad environment according to the education needs of the class.

From a desktop computer program, teachers can customize how the LearnPads can be used, develop each day's lesson plan, then provide a QR code that can be posted to a wall. As students enter the class that day or that hour, the student scans the QR code to receive the lesson plan. As class progresses, teachers can monitor student activity to ensure they're staying on task.

However, Kosiorek stressed, LearnPads don't replace lectures and class discussions.

"This is a great tool for students and for teachers, but it doesn't replace quality education," Kosiorek said. "It's a tool, it's a supplement, an addition to a teacher's toolbox."

There are educational books available on the LearnPad and Kosiorek said the district hopes to someday replace all of its text books with tablets. That would save the district money as well as end the days of one-ton backpacks and multiple trips to lockers for students.

And yes, there are games available to students. Math games and vocabulary games, for example.

"Many students have access to video games and those games are very engaging," Kosiorek said. "There are goals that are set and you work toward those goals, so whatever we can do to provide relevance and engagement for students (we will do)."

Every student, starting this week, gets a LearnPad, from kindergarten through 12th grade. The younger students don't get a keyboard and will just use the touch screen, but starting in about third grade, keyboards will be introduced.

At younger grades, the LearnPads stay in school -- at least until the summer, when they can go with the summer reading program already installed -- while older children can bring the LearnPads home for homework once permissions slips and guideline acknowledgments are signed.

"We're very excited to be doing it," Charlie Cook said. "I've got four grandkids in the system right now and when I come to an event, which I do as often as I can, it's amazing to me to watch these kids work with the technology, even what they have currently. I think even in preschool years, they were up operating the touch screen, so this is a natural progression for them."

Jeff Cook said he hopes other business owners will look at this initiative and contact their own school administrators and ask "How can we help?".

Education, after all, is everybody's business.

"My hope is that what Liberty Pumps is doing will gain traction in the business community and others will join in on supporting our schools," Jeff Cook said. "If you are a business that is passionate about something you would be willing to help fund or support, I would suggest talking to the school administration about your idea and see if it is feasible. 

"In the case of Byron-Bergen, they did all the leg work and presented us with their vision based on our ideas. This could be anything from supporting sport programs and class offerings, to equipment for the district. Anything that could enhance a student's learning opportunity."

Photo: Casey Kosiorek, left, and Charlie Cook.

Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Sports Plus Physical Therapy is ready to ease your aches and pains in a hands-on way

From left, Stephanie Starkweather, Keith Bailey, Senator Mike Ranzenhofer, Patrick Privatera, Craig Rigney and Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

 

Sports Plus Physical Therapy is having its Open House and Grand Opening Celebration this afternoon at 5 Alva Place, Batavia. It ends at 7.

Keith Bailey, a physical therapist and the clinic's director, said the goal of the staff is to get their hands on every client.

"We treat primarily musculoskeletal conditions -- anything from sprains and strains to post-operative rehabilitation," Bailey said. "We do work with some neurological patients, such as people who've had a stroke, but we typically get them further down the road, not in the immediate sense.

"We'll work with feet, ankles, knees, hips, spine, shoulders, elbows, hands, we'll take care of just about any of it for you. We treat all ages. We have the very young up to the very old, and a lot in between. We have some young athletes, but I would say the bulk of our clientele is the Baby Boomer, middle-age generation. Nowadays, people expect to stay active and energetic longer than in the past. We try our best to help them achieve their goal."

On the first visit, a patient is taken to a private examination room for an evaluation and assessment. Measurements, such as range of motion, are taken, any sensory loss is also noted, so the clinician has a baseline to chart a course of therapy and its progression.

For example, "You think it's a shoulder pain," Bailey said. "Well maybe we can narrow it down and that gives us a more focused path to treatment."

On subsequent visits, the patient will go to gym area where there are tables to stretch out on and exercise equipment, ice packs, hot packs, and ultrasound machines to calm inflammation and promote healing.

"But the most important thing is -- we try to get our hands on every client," Bailey said, "which means, you come in, maybe we'll do some modalities; we're definately going to do some exercises. But we're also going to use our hands to try help you to achieve your goals, now whatever that may be -- it's different for different people.

"Maybe we'll work on joint restrictions or muscular issues or sometimes just help you to perform an exercise properly. We make sure when you come in here you're having an interaction with a therapist, not just going through a routine."

A patient can be seen with or without a doctor's referral. In New York, direct access is allowed up to 10 visits or up to 30 days of treatment, without a doctor's referral. Further treatment does requires a referral. No-fault insurance, Medicare, and Workers' Comp don't allow direct access to physical therapy.

Sports Plus Physical Therapy is open daily, including Monday and Wednesday evenings. Most insurance plans are accepted. To make an appointment or ask questions, call 343-9496.

The business is a new member of the Downtown Batavia Improvement District, but it is not new. It's been in Batavia since the 1990s and when Le Roy Physical Therapy bought the business 2009, they leased space near Batavia Downs.

With that lease about to expire, the business owners decided to look for a more centrally located facility. They found it at what used to be the Genesee County ARC administrative office building, at the corner of Alva Place and State Street.

"It's a nice central, more accessible location," Bailey said. "So we bought the building. It took a lot of doing to get it where we needed it to be, and we're pretty happy with how it's turned out."

Photo by Howard Owens.

Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 2:35 pm

LA taco wagon transformed into BBQmobile

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Center Street Smokehouse

A former taco wagon from Los Angeles is now a Southern BBQ truck in WNY.

The transformation was made by Cregg Paul, owner of Center Street Smoke House, who bought the truck from a seller in Fayetteville, NC, and drove the truck to Batavia.

It was exciting to see an authentic taco wagon on Center Street for a couple of weeks, but carne asada wasn't in Paul's plans. He's sticking to what he does best: brisket, ribs and pulled pork.

The truck is available for catered happenings and Paul plans on using it at festivals and other public events.

Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Collins tours Graham Corp. in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, chris collins, graham corp., NY-27

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (R-NY-27) visited Graham Corporation in Batavia to see firsthand the skilled jobs and business that the production of Navy aircraft carriers brings to the region. Graham Corporation builds and supplies main condensers and air ejectors for Navy aircraft carriers.

Graham Corporation is part of a vital defense industrial base consisting of more than 2,000 small, mid-sized, and large businesses from 43 states that provides parts and services for Navy aircraft carriers.

During his tour, Congressman Collins met with the employees at Graham Corporation to discuss the unique skills they contribute to the industrial base that supplies parts to the Navy aircraft carrier program.

“It was an honor meeting the employees at Graham and learning about their vital work constructing components for our Navy’s aircraft carriers,” Congressman Collins said. “Local businesses like Graham are essential to maintaining economic growth and good-paying job opportunities here in Western New York, while ensuring our nation’s national security. It was great to see firsthand how the skilled work happening here in Batavia contributes to our Navy’s strength around the world.”

“Building new carriers every five years and undertaking maintenance on a regular schedule preserves the fleet at its required operational level of 11 carriers and keeps the industrial base sustainable and strong. Today we got the opportunity to talk with Congressman Collins about why it is so critical to our local jobs and businesses and our national security,” said Ken Salphine, manager of Marine & Nuclear Products at Graham Corporation.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 6:15 pm

Frost Ridge case attorneys wrangle with witnesses over what they knew and when they knew it

post by Howard B. Owens in business, frost ride, Le Roy, zoning

Marney Cleere, one of the co-plaintiffs in the pair of lawsuits filed against Frost Ridge over alleged zoning violations and live music at the venue, spent a lot of time on the witness stand today.

Cleere was called to testify in a hearing aimed at establishing when the statute of limitations' clock started ticking on a Le Roy Zoning of Board of Appeals determination that all activities at Frost Ridge are "grandfathered in," and whether that ZBA determination was made properly.

David Roach, the attorney Frost Ridge, and the campground's owners, Greg and David Luetticke-Archbell, called Cleere to try and establish what the Oatka Trails Road resident knew about the Sept. 25 ZBA decision and the day she knew it.

If she knew about it before April 8, it could mean there is evidence to establish that her and her co-plaintiffs did not file their complaint in a timely fashion. Depending on how Noonan interprets the law and case law, that could mean at least a portion of their suit against Frost Ridge could be thrown out of court.

Cleere testified today that she received a copy of the minutes from the Sept. 25, 2013 ZBA meeting on March 26, 2014.

Getting that admission from Cleere took dozens and dozens of questions from Roach and attorney Karl Essler, representing the ZBA, which is a co-defendant in the Cleere/Collins lawsuit.

Frost Ridge is also being sued by the Town of Le Roy.

Roach started his questioning by establishing that Cleere had an e-mail address with a username and password that only she could access.

He then showed her an e-mail from Patty Canfield, the Le Roy town clerk, to her e-mail address.  

Cleere never admitted to having previously seen the e-mail, but said she couldn't say that her e-mail account was hacked or that the e-mail could be fraudulent.

Once, when asked by Roach if the e-mail was sent to her, she responded: "It has my e-mail address on it, yes."

The e-mail is from early October.

It appears to have had three attachments (not included with the printed e-mail used as evidence). Those attachments were supposedly the ZBA minutes from June 11, July 23 and Aug. 27.

Roach quoted Canfield as writing, "I believe they will approve Sept. 25. minutes at next meeting."

Asked if the e-mail from Canfield was in response from Cleere for a copy of the Sept. 25 meeting minutes, Cleere said she would have to review her e-mails to answer the question.

She had no recollection of requesting those specific minutes from the town.

Later in her testimony, Cleere said she didn't request them until March because she didn't know that the minutes existed nor that Frost Ridge was discussed at the Sept. 25 ZBA meeting. Her request was prompted by communications with attorneys from both sides of the dispute, according to her testimony.

Asked several times in different ways if she took any action between October and March to obtain a copy of the Sept. 25 meeting minutes, Cleere responded, "I didn't know of that meeting, so what would have caused me to request those minutes?"

She obtained the copy of the Sept. 25 minutes from Code Enforcement Officer Jeff Steinbrenner, who, according to testimony by himself and other prior witnesses, kept all the minutes in a file in his office.

Cleere also testified -- while being questioned by her attorney Mindy Zoghlin -- that she became angry when she learned about the Sept. 25 meeting in March.

"Obviously, we were furious that we weren't made aware of this meeting," Cleere said. "We didn't understand why we weren't made aware of this, why it took six months."

Cleere said the package of material she received from Steinbrenner contained no application from Frost Ridge, no supporting documents and no notice of public hearing.

Part of what Zoghlin is trying to establish is that the ZBA's determination lacked jurisdictional validity. 

If she can show that the ZBA acted outside the scope of the law, the Sept. 25 determination would be meaningless and, potentially, the statute of limitations question becomes moot.

Zoghlin spent a lot of time today questioning David Luetticke-Archbell about his interpretation of communications from the town, what they meant, what he understood and what he believed, all in an effort to draw a distinction between the campsite zoning issues at Frost Ridge and the issue of live music.

Zoghlin argued that the zoning issues and the music issue are completely separate issues. The zoning issues, according to her, require a zoning variance, while the live music issue requires an area variance, a use variance or a special-use permit.  

If the ZBA wasn't considering live music at its Sept. 25 meeting (and Board Chair Debbie Jackett testified clearly that it did), then the ZBA determination is reduced to only a consideration of campsite placement and use.

As Zoghlin repeatedly asked questions to try and get Luetticke-Archbell to discuss these topics as separate issues, often with objections from Roach, the parade of objections eventually flared up, resulting in both attorneys making lengthy arguments to Noonan about why, or why not, the line of questioning was relevant.

"We can't just pull out of thin air the separation of the two issues because the record already states they're one issue," Roach said.

"The record" being a reference to a couple of documents already in evidence, including a letter from Steinbrenner to Frost Ridge that treats live music as just one in many alleged zoning violations.

"The communication that triggered the ZBA hearing didn't come directly from code enforcement (a reference to a supposed copy-and-paste by Steinbrenner of a message from Town Supervisor Steve Barbeau)," Zoghlin said. "That communication, while inartfully drawn, had the effect of mixing up and confusing two issues. ... 

"When we get to the jurisdictional issue," Zoghlin continued a statement or two later, "NYS town law and Town of Le Roy zoning code requires an application so we can avoid this kind of problem, so when the ZBA considers something, they have some type of idea exactly what they are being asked to rule on.

"There's no application here," she said. "To say the documents speak for themselves doesn't really help. To compound the problem, nothing was published anywhere so that anybody in town had any inkling the ZBA might consider a determination. The entire procedure is flawed from beginning to end so that it doesn't determine anything. I don't understand the thought process that says they're not asking for two things that are totally different in a way that makes any sense."

Noonan overruled Roach's objection, but also expressed skepticism about Zoghlin's line of questioning. 

"Maybe I'm missing something," Noonan said. "I realize zoning is a highly technical issue conducted by lay people who sometimes make mistakes in the process, but I don't see how going through the thought process of people gives us any enlightenment that will help me to decide this case when the case is based on documents."

With the hearing completed today, now we wait.

The attorneys will draft memos of facts and case law for Noonan to consider prior to issuing his ruling. Those documents are due Sept. 29. Noonan didn't indicate how long it would be after that before he issues a ruling on these motions.

Without a complete dismissal of the case, there will be more court appearances before the lawsuits are decided.

In the meantime, the Marshall Tucker Band is scheduled to play The Ridge on Sept. 6.

Noonan continued his order lifting the ban on live music at Frost Ridge, which allows the Sept. 6 concert to go forward as planned.

Two shows that were previously postponed because of the restraining order. John Michael Montgomery and Jason Michael Carroll have been rescheduled to dates near the end of October. The fate of those shows may depend on the status of the legal case at that time.

Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Hearing on motions in Frost Ridge case will determine fate of lawsuits, and campground

post by Howard B. Owens in business, Frost Ridge, Le Roy

Two witnesses in a hearing related to the Frost Ridge lawsuits testified today that a key document was filed with the Town of Le Roy months before an April 8 statute of limitations date that is part of the dispute over live music at the campground.

It's all more complicated than even that convoluted sentence, however.

The hearing wasn't even completed today. Judge Robert C. Noonan was scheduled to hear a case in Rochester at 2 p.m. and with at least one more witness scheduled to be called, continued the hearing to 10:15 a.m., Tuesday.

Before adjourning, Noonan continued the stay of his temporary restraining order barring live music at Frost Ridge, which means that the Phil Vassar concert scheduled for Saturday will go on as planned.

The concert is a fundraiser for the Golisano Children's Hospital.

Vassar has said Frost Ridge is one of his favorite places to play and asked to be included in this season's line-up.

The hearing was limited to two motions under consideration by Noonan: 

  • Whether the statute of limitations for challenging a ZBA determination that nonconforming uses at Frost Ridge, contrary to current zoning law, were "grandfathered in," and,
  • Whether there is what is known as a "jurisdictional defect" in the ZBA's determination.

The key document relevant to the statute of limitations motions is the Zoning Board of Appeals minutes from its Sept. 25, 2013 meeting.

At dispute is whether the minutes were filed with the town before April 8. 

If the minutes were filed before April 8, that would mean one of both lawsuits were filed after the statutory period for challenging a zoning board's determinations.

But, did the ZBA under the circumstances of Sept. 25 have the authority to make that determination, which is something the attorney for the Cleere/Collins side of the suit is challenging.

Noonan's eventual ruling on these motions could either allow one or both lawsuits against Frost Ridge to go forward, and perhaps to trial, or determine whether one or both will be dismissed. 

Frost Ridge and the campground's owners Greg and David Luetticke-Archbell are being sued by the Town of Le Roy and Frost Ridge neighbors, the families of Cleere and Collins (who are related to the original Frost Ridge owners). Cleere/Collins is also suing the ZBA.

First to testify was Town Clerk Patricia Canfield.

There is much about when the minutes were first publicly available that Canfield can't remember.

She testified that as standard and permissible procedure, the ZBA minutes are kept in a file in the office of Jeff Steinbrenner, zoning and code enforcement officer for the Town of Le Roy.

She couldn't recall with certainty when she first had reason to retrieve the Sept. 25 minutes from the file, but said they were requested more than once through various Freedom of Information Requests, including requests by Marny Cleere.

Canfield said Cleere filed more than five FOIL requests, but not more than 10, and she couldn't remember if the one requesting ZBA minutes came in 2013 or 2014.

She couldn't remember if any of the other FOIL requests for the minutes came in 2013.

Under questioning from Noonan, Canfield said most FOIL requests are written, though she accepts verbal requests. Written requests are kept on file, she said, but there was no indication that any written FOIL requests were in court today.

As for the ZBA hearing itself, Canfield testified that if there was a public notice published of a meeting to discuss Frost Ridge's non-conforming use, she would have known about it, and she said she was unaware of any such publication.

David Roach, the Frost Ridge attorney, also called Steinbrenner as an "adverse witness."

Steinbrenner was also questioned by attorney Karl Essler, representing the ZBA.

Under questioning from Essler, Steinbrenner said that once the minutes from a meeting were approved at a subsequent meeting, he would place those minutes in his file.

He agreed that the Sept. 25 minutes were approved by the ZBA board at its Oct. 22 meeting and that he probably filed the minutes that night or the next morning.

As for the meaning of the minutes, Steinbrenner danced around the issue, often skirting direct questions.

He said he didn't recall live music being discussed as a prior nonconforming use at the Sept. 25 meeting.

Roach and Steinbrenner wrangled over the course of several questions whether an e-mail Steinbrenner sent to Frost Ridge in August 2013 was meant to put them on notice that a long list of alleged zoning violations included live music.

Mindy Zoghlin, attorney for Cleere Collins, when cross-examining Steinbrenner, read off a list of alleged zoning violations related to roadways and the placement and setbacks of campsites. 

While never explicitly stated, the clear implication of the line of questioning is an attempt by the plaintiff's side to establish that the ZBA ruling, if valid, was limited to land use issues and the ZBA didn't at all consider, nor was it asked to consider, whether live music is grandfathered in.

"When we first started with Frost Ridge about this, we saw two aspects to it," Steinbrenner said. "There was a need for special use permit for the campsites and one for concerts. At the time, we decided to go after the campground sites at Frost Ridge and the go after the concerts once they were up to compliance and in code."

Steinbrenner's August e-mail twice uses the word "etc." when referring to the alleged zoning violations.

When Roach would ask in various ways whether "etc." includes live music, Steinbrenner repeatedly deflected the question by staying he was merely forwarding what Town Supervisor Steve Barbeau had said was discussed at a prior town board meeting (which Steinbrenner didn't attend).

Under questioning from Roach, Steinbrenner admitted that he had verbally told David and Greg that live music shows were a possible zoning violation.

The third and final person to testify today was Debra Jackett, chairwoman of the ZBA.

Jackett testified that the board approved its minutes from the Sept. 25 meeting at its Oct. 22 meeting and that Steinbrenner received a copy of the minutes at that time, and she considered them filed with the town at that time.

Zoghlin asked several questions related to public notification of hearings and filing of notices and Jackett answered each time that it wasn't the board's job to deal with notices and outside communications.

"Our only job is to show up at meetings and make decisions," she said.

Over the repeated objections of Roach (each overruled by Noonan), Zoghlin kept asking about what happened at a ZBA meeting in 1998. 

Jackett was a member of the board in 1998, when the ZBA issued a determination that Frost Ridge was grandfathered in as a campground, even though it was an agriculture/residential area.

The meeting was 16 years ago, Jackett said, and she couldn't remember specifics about the meeting, but Zoghlin persisted.

"If you're going to ask me what I said 16 years ago, I'm going to tell you, I don't recall," Jackett said at one point.

Roach objected to the line of questioning because it's his contention that what happened at the meeting in 1998 isn't material to the plaintiff's motion that the ZBA decision of 2013 suffers from a "jurisdictional defect."

Another ZBA board member is expected to testify Tuesday. Noonan's ruling on the motions will come some time later.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 4:14 pm

Dairy farmers urged to apply for grants to form profit teams for their farms

post by Billie Owens in agriculture, business, dairy

Press release:

The New York Farm Viability Initiative strongly encourages dairy farmers to apply now for $2,500 grants to form dairy profit teams for their farm.

Ron Robbins, owner of North Harbor Dairy in Sackets Harbor and a NYFVI board member said “Right now, with milk prices so good, is the time to think about improvements. You want to maximize your yields, while continuing to manage your costs. The right team of experts, all chosen by you, can help you see where the opportunities are. Lining up your money now, while it’s available, is a smart move.”

Robbins went on to say “I understand that taking that first step can be challenging. It’s hard to step back from the daily priorities and share with others the big picture of your operations.”

Profit teams are a well-proven concept in New York. The state’s farmers have been using this approach, sometimes called advisory teams, successfully for the last 10 years.

NYFVI is honored to have been entrusted with a legislative appropriation through the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets to help dairy farmers who haven’t used profit teams get started.

NYFVI Managing Director David Grusenmeyer added “I hope more farms will enroll and utilize the funds available to them. Over the years I’ve seen such great results from this approach. In many cases the work from these teams has literally saved a business.

"The funds are directed solely by the farmer; some teams are improving herd health, others are focused on milk quantity. Some are even working with financial advisors to develop succession plans. It’s all up to the farmer to decide.”

The simple one-page application for a Dairy Profit Team grant can be found at www.nyfvi.org

Friday, August 15, 2014 at 9:50 am

Diner in Village of Corfu moving to new location near Pembroke High School

post by Howard B. Owens in business, corfu, pembroke

Linda's Diner in the Village of Corfu is moving.

The Genesee County Planning Board approved a proposal submitted by Pembroke resident Linda Richley to convert a single-family residence at 8783 Allegheny Road into a restaurant.

The location is just south of Pembroke High School.

The new Linda's Diner will be build inside a 1,176-square-foot, ranch-style home built in 1959.

Richley said this morning that it was her son and daughter who encouraged her to move.

The location is strategically located near the busy intersection of routes 5 and 77, close to Yancey's Fancy cheese shop and Pembroke HS, Richley said.

Her daughter would like to eventually add ice cream to the menu and her son already operates a BBQ catering business, so the location would give him a place to set up and cook pulled pork and ribs when he isn't at a client's location.

"It's more their idea than mine," Richley said, but she is looking forward to the family owning its own location after renting for all these years.

The plans approved by the planning board call for 25 parking spaces on the lot.

Richley purchased the 1.1-acre parcel from the Town of Pembroke, which acquired it when they bought lland for the town park.

Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 3:15 pm

New owners, employees, community leaders celebrate the saving of a Batavia institution

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, p.w. minor

The employees are happy. Local officials are happy. Pete and Andy are happy. Everybody's happy.

Even the costume designers for the hit HBO series Empire Boardwalk are happy (at least we assume so -- they'll still be able to order p.w. minor shoes for the show).

A Batavia institution, along with 70 local jobs were saved by two local businessmen. Today, speaker after speaker praised Pete Zeliff and Andrew Young for stepping forward just a month ago when they heard the 150-year-old shoe company was closing to buy it and keep it going.

Zeliff and Young plan to do more than just keep the doors open. They vow to expand the business and create more jobs in Batavia.

"The struggles of this company are over," Young said. "We're going to make it work, OK. Once again, we'll make this company the epitome of 'Made in America.' "

They've gotten some help from Empire State Development to help make the purchase possible.

Regional Director Vincent Esposito announced ESD is making available $450,000 from the agency's Excelsior Jobs Program. To qualify, Zeliff and Young had to pledge to create jobs and make a significant capital investment in the company.

Young and Zeliff were also planning to apply for $269,000 in tax abatements from the Geness County Economic Development Center, but that application was tabled Monday on the advice of the agency's attorney.

The attorney is researching the matter further, according to Ray Cianfrini, chair of the Legislature as well as a GCEDC board member. But it appears that so long as Zeliff is a member of GCEDC board, p.w. minor can't receive assistance from GCEDC.

Zeliff has a big decision to make -- resign from the board and apply for the tax relief, or stay on the board and move p.w. minor forward without any further tax breaks.

Zeliff said he's made no decision yet and offered little insight into his thought process on the matter. He did note that serving on the GCEDC board is a volunteer position. Directors are not paid.

Former GCEDC Board Chairman Charlie Cook, CEO of Liberty Pumps, resigned from the board when it came time for his company to expand and Liberty applied for assistance from GCEDC.

Today, Cianfrini spoke at the press conference -- really a celebration -- at p.w. minor's facility on Treadeasy Way.

"Today is not only a great day for p.w. minor and all of its employees," Cianfrini said. "It's a great day for all of Genesee County. We need to recognize how fortunate we are to have people like Pete Zeliff and Andy Young, who are dedicated to economic development, here in Genesee County, who are willing to get personally involved in economic development."

City Councilman John Canale recalled touring the p.w. minor factory on State Street when he was a child, and talked about how he grew up with the company being an ever-present part of the community his entire life.

"p.w. minor is an icon," Canale said. "It's a Batavia institution. When I found out that institution would no longer be in business, I felt like I had just read the obituary of someone that I knew and loved in this community. Today makes it a very happy day, in that two guys with a bit of ambition and a whole lot of entrepreneurial spirit decided this institution needs to continue in this community."

After the speeches, attendees were invited on guided tours of the plant to see how shoes are made in Batavia.

A few lucky people even got to see the shoe sent to the costume designers of Boardwalk Empire.

With media around, a couple of employees demurred at being interviewed, and at one point, as a worker was surrounded by photographers, Young asked her, "are you mad at me (for bringing the media over)?" Another employee nearby spoke up, "How could we ever be mad at you? You saved us."

The average p.w. minor employee has been with company 24 years.  

Andrew Young and Pete Zeliff.

The style of shoe sent to the set of Boardwalk Empire.

UPDATE: After the jump, a press release from Gov. Cuomo.

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